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Hudson receives $500,000 grant for redevelopment

Hudson Gateway, the new development at the old St. Croix Meadows dog track, will be the focus of a $500,000 grant awarded to the city of Hudson. The grant is from the Wisconsin Economic Development Coporation. File photo

Redevelopment of the old St. Croix Meadows dog track will get a boost from a $500,000 idle site grant awarded to the city of Hudson by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The Hudson Common Council accepted the grant Monday night, praising Community Development Director Mike Johnson for the work.

Johnson said the application, submitted in April, was a big effort by city staff, developers, and the city's engineering firm.

"It all came together pretty quickly," Johnson said.

Grant money will go towards clearing the site to make way for the new Hudson Gateway development, which will house a baseball stadium, brewery, indoor sports complex, office space and more.

The reimbursal grant will be matched by private funds of more than $1.7 million.

The grant is designed for sites that have sat idle for at least five years. This site has been unused since the dog track closed in 2001.

Hudson hate group designation

During the citizen comment portion of the meeting, Police and Fire Commission member Greg Sarno spoke on the recent designation of the Citizens for the St. Croix Valley as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sarno pointed out that there is no legal segregation in Hudson based on race, gender or other characteristics, saying anyone can buy a car or a house and walk safely through the city without any harassment from the vast majority of residents.

Sarno said the Hudson Inclusion Alliance should be cautious of the organizations they associate with. He said the FBI no longer cites the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate crime resource due to what he said was accuracy concerns.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is still listed as a partner "to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems" on the FBI's civil rights webpage. The center, and any other nongovernmental organizations, are not listed under the resources portion of that page.

Sarno said in his research of Citizens for the St. Croix Valley he learned more about Sharia Law, the institution that concerns the group.

"They're worried about it, I'm worried about it in the United States of America and would wonder why anybody else wouldn't be worried about it as well," he said.

In an emailed response, Tony Bol of the Hudson Inclusion Alliance said the comments by Sarno show why residents need to understand the positions of city leadership.

"As our community works with our local police and city officials it has become apparent that we need to also seek assistance from outside agencies and support systems," Bol said. "Hudson individuals that experience prejudicial actions or hate crimes will be encouraged to also contact state and federal organizations that are not influenced by those that align with Citizens for the St.Croix Valley."

Sailing school lease

The council also approved a new lease with the St. Croix Sailing School to place two sheds on city-property at the south end of Picnic Point near the river.

Parks Director Tom Zeuli said the leave will be from June 1 to Oct. 31, this year only to start.

"See how it goes this year," Zeuli said, and the city can modify as needed.

The sheds are required to be painted earth tones, and will not affect the shoreline, Zeuli said.

Zeuli recommended the council approve the lease, saying the school and its focus on connecting people to the river is something the city should promote and support.

St. Croix Sailing School Director Collin Mueller said the school's mission is to provide safe, affordable boating education to youth and adults. This lease is a first step to what Mueller said is a larger goal of working more with the city.

The school's long-term goal is in line with the city's waterfront redevelopment plan, which suggested moving the school into a remodeled Buckeye Garage.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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